Can Scoliosis Be Fixed Without Surgery?
Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to rotate and curve unnaturally to the side, making it appear like an “S” or “C” shape.
In severe cases, the spinal curvature can continue progressing, causing pain and discomfort and limiting range of motion. While there are several surgeries that a doctor can recommend to correct the curvature, non-surgical options can also help restore the alignment of the spine.
Is It Possible To Fix Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition that can’t be cured. As such, there’s no option to “fix” scoliosis, at least not to 100%. However, scoliosis can be treated in a way that helps “correct” the curvature, reducing the angle of the curvature and improving the spinal alignment. Additionally, treatment can also effectively reduce and manage any pain or discomfort associated with scoliosis.
It’s also important to note that not all treatment programs are the same. The goal of a specific treatment program will depend on the severity of the curvature, the age when the scoliosis was diagnosed, and other factors.
For example, when treating adolescents, the goal is typically to prevent progression and reduce the angle of the spinal curvature to under 30 degrees, which helps to reduce the risk of progression in adulthood. On the other hand, when treating adults, the goal is usually to prevent or slow the progression and relieve pain. Additionally, improving cosmetic appearance and external body symmetry is a goal for many cases.
In essence, it’s not possible to completely fix scoliosis. However, it is possible to treat scoliosis to improve spinal alignment, prevent further progression, and reduce any pain or discomfort associated with the condition.
Scoliosis Treatment And SOSORT Guidelines
The Society on Scoliosis Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT) was established in 2006 to improve the standard of care for scoliosis patients and provide guidance on the conservative (non-surgical) treatments for scoliosis. In 2016, SOSORT published evidence-based guidelines on the best approach to treating scoliosis without surgery.
According to the SOSORT guidelines, effective non-surgical treatments for scoliosis (other than bracing) includes scoliosis-specific exercises. There are four components to scoliosis-specific exercises:
- Auto-Correction In 3D: Auto-correction refers to using physical activities to help reduce the scoliosis curvature and restore alignment. This includes stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, and postural re-education.
Auto-correction in 3D means that the exercises are designed to correct the scoliosis curvature in all three planes of motion: front to back, side to side, and up and down.
- Training Activities Of Daily Living: Practicing activities of daily living (ADLs) can help improve coordination and posture while performing everyday tasks. The idea is to increase the patient’s awareness of their body and how it moves in space. As a result, patients can better maintain proper alignment while performing daily activities. These ADLs can include everything from sitting down to climbing stairs or bathing, thereby improving overall posture and reducing the risk of scoliosis progression.
- Stabilizing The Corrected Posture: Stabilizing the corrected posture is a key component of treatment. This is done using prescription exercises and stretches that help to strengthen the muscles around the spine, core, and pelvis. This, in turn, helps to support the spine and maintain proper spinal alignment. By strengthening these muscles, it can also help stabilize the corrected posture, which is essential for reducing the risk of scoliosis progression.
- Patient Education: Patient education is crucial to any scoliosis treatment plan. This includes educating patients on the importance of maintaining proper alignment and posture and the risks associated with scoliosis progression. Patients should also be informed about the benefits of exercise and physical activity, as well as proper nutrition, which are both essential for maintaining spine health. Finally, patients should be educated on how to exercise and stretch correctly to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of scoliosis progression.
How Scoliosis Severity Affects Treatment Options
The severity of a patient’s scoliosis will play a major role in determining the best treatment. Mild cases of scoliosis may only require observation, while moderate cases may require physical therapy and/or bracing. Surgery may be required for severe cases of scoliosis.
In addition, the patient’s age will also be a factor in determining the best treatment option. For example, bracing is often recommended for patients who are still growing to help prevent the curvature from getting worse.
On the other hand, surgery may be necessary to correct more severe curvatures that cannot be treated effectively with bracing or physical therapy.
In every case, it is vital to work closely with your doctor to determine the best course of action. They will be able to review the individual factors of your scoliosis and help to create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Why Surgery Isn’t Always The Best Option
Surgery might seem like the quickest and most effective way to treat scoliosis, but it’s not always the best option. Surgery is invasive and carries specific risks, including infection, nerve damage, and blood clots (risks that are present in any invasive surgery).
Surgery can also be costly, and recovery times are often long and uncomfortable. It’s not uncommon for it to take upwards of a year for patients to fully recover from scoliosis surgery.
Additionally, surgery only addresses the physical symptoms of scoliosis, not the underlying issues that often accompany it.
As a result, the curvature can continue to progress after surgery, even if the patient has a successful recovery. It’s why physical therapy, bracing, and other non-invasive treatments must be utilized in conjunction with surgery to ensure the best possible outcome.
For these reasons, it is essential to explore your treatment options before deciding on surgery. Many other non-surgical treatments can effectively treat scoliosis, especially if the curvature hasn’t yet progressed to a severe stage.
The Benefits Of Non-Surgical Treatments For Scoliosis
Non-surgical treatments can be hugely beneficial when treating scoliosis in mild, moderate, or even severe cases. The following are a few of the benefits of non-surgical treatments for scoliosis:
- Non-Invasive: Non-surgical treatments are non-invasive, meaning that the patient does not have to undergo surgery or be exposed to any of its risks.
- Lower Cost: Non-surgical treatments are typically much less expensive than surgery, making them more accessible for those who cannot afford surgery.
- Reduce Pain And Discomfort: Non-surgical treatments can help reduce the symptoms and pain associated with scoliosis by improving flexibility and strength in the spine.
- Prevent Progression: Scoliosis-specific exercises and bracing can help prevent the scoliosis curvature from worsening. Learning how to exercise and stretch correctly can also be beneficial in preventing the progression of the curvature.
- Correct Spinal Curvature: In some cases, scoliosis-specific exercises and bracing can help reduce the curvature, improving posture and relieving pain.
- Improve Range Of Motion: Non-surgical treatments can help to improve range of motion by reducing stiffness and increasing flexibility in the spine.
- Maintain Spine Corrections: In mild and moderate cases, scoliosis-specific exercises can help maintain the corrections achieved through bracing by strengthening the core and providing support to the spine.
Scoliosis Treatments Without Surgery
Here at Square ONE Health, we believe surgery should be a last resort for treating scoliosis. That is why we offer a range of non-surgical treatments to help our patients achieve the best possible outcomes. The following are the non-surgical scoliosis treatment options that we offer:
Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP)
CBP is an effective treatment method for relieving pain caused by scoliosis. Whereas standard chiropractic care focuses on immediate pain relief, CBP focuses on correcting the source of the pain and relieving it. CBP is a highly researched, science-based chiropractic technique that can correct and restore spinal alignment.
At Square ONE Health, we develop a personalized CBP treatment plan to address the specific needs of our patients. This may involve the use of adjustments, traction, stretching and strengthening exercises, and a home rehab program.
Schroth Method Therapy
The Schroth Method is a three-dimensional scoliosis treatment that focuses on strengthening the core muscles, improving posture, and teaching patients how to control their spinal position. This method was developed in 1921 by German orthopedist Katharina Schroth and has since been used to treat scoliosis with great success.
The Schroth Method is based on the principle that by controlling the position of the patient’s spine, it will be possible to prevent the progression of scoliosis. It’s one of the most popular and widely used methods for treating scoliosis and is the foundation for many other scoliosis treatment methods.
Scientific Exercise Approach To Scoliosis (SEAS)
The SEAS method is a comprehensive and individualized approach to scoliosis treatment. It combines corrective exercises, breathing techniques, relaxation training, and posture correction. The SEAS method is based on the principle that scoliosis is caused by an imbalance in the body, and that these imbalances can be corrected with the right exercises.
SEAS focuses on providing personalized treatment plans, which consider the patient’s age, activity level, and any existing medical conditions. This approach can help reduce the curvature of the spine and improve posture.
ScoliBalance is a type of physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercise (PSSE) methodology that combines CBP, SEAS, and Schroth techniques.
As such, ScoliBalance prescribes 3D postural corrections, exercises, and stretches that are tailored to each patient’s unique needs.
ScoliBalance is effective at slowing down or stopping the progression of scoliosis, improving flexibility, improving muscular balance, improving posture, reducing pain, and more, and it can be prescribed to patients of all ages. The focus of the ScoliBalance is to ensure treatment is both effective and achievable for patients to learn and implement.
A scoliosis brace is a custom-made device designed to support the spine and prevent it from progressing further, thereby preventing the need for surgery. A brace can be used in conjunction with physical therapy and scoliosis-specific exercises or on its own, depending on the severity of the scoliosis.
Bracing is typically recommended for adolescent patients with a curvature greater than 25 degrees. It can also be suitable for adults with degenerative scoliosis, which means that the curvature worsens with age, or if they are experiencing severe pain due to their scoliosis.
In adolescents bracing is designed to prevent progression and in some cases reduce the size of the curve. In adults racing is used to prevent progression, relieve pain and stabilize the curvature, but not necessarily to correct it. Many types of braces are available – each one is designed to fit the patient’s needs. The decision to use a brace should be based on an evaluation by a specialist who can determine the severity and progression of scoliosis.
There are several forms of bracing that are recommended based on the patient’s age and the severity of their curvatures. These include:
- Night-Time Rigid Bracing: Most braces are worn on a full-time basis. However, night-time braces only need to be worn at night, making them more appealing to many patients – which results in a higher compliance rate. However, these braces are unsuitable if the spinal curvature exceeds 35 degrees. Additionally, night-time braces are designed to be worn laying down so that they can apply a stronger force, so they can’t be worn when performing daily activities.
- Soft Bracing: A soft brace is a brace that isn’t too tight and doesn’t apply too much force. It’s meant to allow the spine to move when worn, which means that wearing it will allow more mobility. Soft braces are typically used to target bone deformity, muscle retraining, and muscle balancing. These braces are designed for idiopathic scoliosis and must be worn throughout the day and may be effective in treating small curves.
- Full-Time Rigid Bracing: Rigid braces are made of light plastic material. They use a three-point pressure treatment to correct the spine, meaning that pressure is placed at the top of the curvature, above it, and below it using three pads that form a triangle. These pads are placed on the brace according to the location of the curvature and its severity. Full-time braces must be worn between 16 and 24 hours a day, day and night.
- Part-Time Rigid Bracing: Part-time rigid braces are a type of inflexible brace that only need to be worn part-time, usually between four to six hours a day. They are only suited for smaller curvatures or for pain management. The longer the brace is worn, the more likely it is to stop the scoliosis from progressing.
- ScoliBrace: The ScoliBrace is unique in that it doesn’t use three-point pressure to place force on the spine. Instead, the brace uses an over-corrective approach and an asymmetrical design. It applies spinal coupling, which allows the brace to create a better position of the body’s three-dimensional posture and prevents the muscles from weakening (often a side effect of three-point pressure braces). Additionally, the ScoliBrace is custom designed for each patient using 3D scanning technology for improved performance and comfort.
How Square ONE Can Help Your Scoliosis
At Square ONE Health, we can evaluate your condition and design a personalized treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. We use a combination of CBP, Schroth method therapy, SEAS, and ScoliBalance exercises to help relieve pain, improve posture and flexibility, and reduce the progression of scoliosis.
We also offer custom ScoliBrace services to help support your treatment.
We understand that scoliosis can be difficult to deal with, which is why we’re here to help every step of the way.
Get The Best Scoliosis Treatment Without Surgery
If you or your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis, it’s likely you’ll want to find the best scoliosis treatments without having to resort to surgery.
At Square One Health, we offer various non-surgical treatment options to help alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Our experienced team of chiropractors and physical therapists will provide personalized treatment plans tailored to your individual needs.
We understand the importance of finding the best treatments, and we will work with you to find an effective non-surgical treatment program that suits you best.
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